Catholic community enjoys city's 250th birthday party

Courtesy of Ursuline Academy

A celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis is under way, and its Catholic beginnings and connections are being highlighted.

A civic organization, stl250, serves as the master of ceremonies for the 2014 celebration. The Archdiocese of St. Louis has established Catholicstl250, with efforts to commemorate the contributions of the Church and Catholics in St. Louis over the past 250 years.

A Mass on New Year's Eve kicked off the events and a lecture series at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park began Feb. 19.

Rosati-Kain High School kicked off the 250th birthday celebration on Feb. 14. The day included Mass, a St. Louis dress-up contest, St. Louis favorites for lunch, St. Louis fun facts and history, and more. Father Joseph Post, secretary to the archbishop, highlighted the Catholic heritage in the city and focused on the contributions that Rosati-Kain has made to the city over the past 103 years.

Rosati-Kain girls delivered a birthday card to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay at City Hall. The card featured students' signatures and was designed by art teacher Patty Spellman.

As part of St. Louis' 250th anniversary celebration, 250 large fiberglass cakes are being displayed throughout the metro area in the Cakeway to the West program.The Sappington House in Crestwood was selected as a display location and Ursuline Academy was invited to decorate the cake.

Art students Emma Brinson, Taylor Enderle and Emily LaMarch created and painted the cake, which incorporates the Sappington House, nearby Grant's Trail and a nod to Ursuline Academy.

Cakes have already been placed at the Basilica of St. Louis King of France (Old Cathedral) Downtown and at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in the Central West End of St. Louis, two of the sites selected through online voting. Other sites where cakes will be placed include the Black Madonna Shrine and Grottos near Eureka, Old St. Ferdinand Shrine in Florissant, Our Lady of the Rivers at Portage des Sioux, St. Louis University, the Shrine of St. Joseph, the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, St. Anthony's Medical Center and St. Joseph's Academy.

The lecture series also will include:

• "Philippine Duchesne and Women Religious in St. Louis," a lecture from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park by Jennifer Popiel, associate professor of history at St. Louis University. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and the Religious of the Sacred Heart were among the first to respond to Bishop William DuBourg's call for European priests and religious in the American mission field. They were soon joined by other orders of women religious intending to educate, heal the sick and engage in charitable works. Popiel will address how they created, financed and administered institutions that shaped St. Louis as it changed from a wild frontier town to a bustling commercial center.

• "King, Crusader, Saint: Exploring the Life of St. Louis of France," a lecture from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park by Thomas Madden, professor of medieval history and director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at St. Louis University. The lecture will look at Louis IX as a man of virtue, courage and devotion.

Other highlights will include:

• A Mass at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 2, at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, Grand Avenue and Lindell Boulevard, for Osage members and friends. Jesuit Father John Padberg will celebrate the Mass, with tribal elders and members from Oklahoma attending.

• A Mass at noon Friday, April 25, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis marking the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Louis the King. Auxilliary Bishop Edward Rice will be the celebrant.

• A Mass for religious in the archdiocese celebrated by Bishop Rice at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, at the Old Cathedral.

• A Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24. Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop Jordan Theirry of Rheims, France, and Prince Louis de Bourbon are among those who are expected to take part.

• The St. Louis/Lyon Sister Cities and French Society Mass at St. Vincent dePaul Church, 1408 S. 10th St. in south St Louis at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25.

Prayer cards were produced and commemorative prints of a statue of St. Louis will be given away to each school representative attending a Mass and dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

For more information, see www.archstl.org/catholicstl250. Included on the site is a list of places of interest connected with the early settlers' history.

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